Daily Devotion for Monday 13th May 2024

Monday 13th May 2024

Reading  Mark 5: 24-34

So he went with him.  And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.  She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,  for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’  Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’  He looked all round to see who had done it.  But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.  He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

Reflection

Too often, when we think about helping those in need, we think about what they lack and what we can offer. It’s a temptation to which the Church can be particularly susceptible – because we feel it’s our responsibility or calling, to bring good news to others. By contrast, Jesus allows himself to be ‘interrupted’ by the initiative-taking of those in need – not rushing in with his greater capacity, but being stopped in his tracks by their self-assertion. The implication of this, for the Church, is that we too ought to allow ourselves, and our mission programmes, to be interrupted by those with a story to tell, a voice to be heard, a capacity that deserves recognition.

Many people are bruised by the systems of which we are a part. Sometimes we are bruised by them, sometimes we do the bruising, sometimes we are a mix, so presumably other people are also a mix of things, of needs and strengths. In fact, it takes a certain sort of strength to recognise our need, so when others dare to acknowledge their needs, we shouldn’t see them only as ‘in need’, but should see their wholeness, their dignity, their gifts.

An unclean woman dared to touch Jesus, potentially rendering him ‘unclean’, at least passing on some of her shame. The disciples wanted him to move on, to leave the awkward situation behind. But Jesus didn’t accept the narrative about shame and status. He allowed himself to be affected, even think ‘infected’, and affirmed her as a ‘daughter of Abraham’. He dignified a woman seen as undignified by others. But actually, she took the initiative – and Jesus saw it. She knew her own dignity and presumed to change the story. The question is: do we see and allow ourselves to change course?

Prayer 

When we know the world to be defined by boundaries;
when people bear the costs of shame and status;
when our own religiosity feels stuck and wary,
come, healing God, through the initiative of the unlikely,
and disrupt what we take for granted;
come, awkward Christ, in the cracks between people,
and help us change course;
come, untamed Spirit, wherever we hold you at bay,
and turn us inside out.

 

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